I think this is my last post on ESPN’s broadcast of the Florida spring football scrimmage. I didn’t expect to blog as much on the event as I did, but it’s been such a target rich environment that I haven’t been able to help myself.
Anyway, I’m inspired by this post over at Orange and Blue Hue, one of my favorite blogs. It’s a fan’s perspective of the positives being generated in the program as it goes from spring to fall, and, as such, it’s a good read. If you’re a fan of the program and you can’t get excited about your team’s prospects in a blog post, what’s the point?
But here are the quotes that caught my eye and made me think a bit:
… The front four, led by Carlos Dunlap, pressured Tim Tebow and Cam Newton all day…
… On defense, a front four led by Dunlap, a vastly improved secondary and two hard-hitting safeties in Hill and right, and now a linebacking corps led by the vastly improved Spikes? More and more, this team is starting to look just as good, maybe even better, then the ‘06 national championship team…
As a highly regarded (five star recruit, babee!) freshman, Carlos Dunlap played in twelve games last year. He had a whopping total of seven tackles in that time. Now, based on a scrimmage, going up against an offensive line that played for both teams all day, he’s already a leader of the defense.
Sure, every fan watching a spring game gets pumped up about a player emerging unexpectedly (just think about all the Dawg All Stars from previous G-Day games). But it’s one thing for you or me to chatter excitedly on the way out to the parking lot with fellow fans about how a kid looked. Or even for someone like Vince or me to do it on a football blog. It’s quite another to hear Chris, Kirk and Lee gush about the same thing to a national TV audience.
How much media impact is that likely to have? You’ll know the fix is in if Dunlap’s name crops up on preseason All-SEC lists – not first team, of course, but even honorable mention would be a stretch based on the kid’s credentials to date.
The main thing here, though, is what a gift this turns out to be for Urban Meyer and his recruiting. He can walk into any recruit’s house and say “you can play for Coach X and maybe they’ll know your name in a few years, or you can come to Florida and hear Herbstreit and Corso praise your name in a spring game before your sophomore season!” Now that may not work all the time, but it will work.
That’s not a question of right or wrong, by the way. It’s a resource. Meyer would be foolish to waste it. And he’s not stupid. The thing is, neither are his competitors. Guys like Saban, Fulmer, Spurrier and, yes, Richt are going to see this for the advantage it is and demand to be cut in on the deal, too.
Which means more product for the sports channels. Which they won’t turn down. In other words, look for a proliferation of broadcasts of spring scrimmage games in your near future. The customer is always right.